Time for the voters to speak

This has been one of the most intense election seasons I can remember in Hawai‘i, and I’ve heard more than enough to make my choices and am glad to see it coming to an end — the primary segment, anyhow.

It’s been a long campaign mainly because it got off to an early start with the spring special congressional election to replace Neil Abercrombie, a free-for-all between Charles Djou, Colleen Hanabusa and Ed Case that was unusually noisy because of the national implications and the fierce infighting on the Democratic side.

In the primary campaign, Mufi Hannemann and Neil Abercrombie have given us the biggest Democratic heavyweight showdown since John Burns and Tom Gill in 1970, with our most spirited LG race ever thrown in for good measure.

Add hotly contested special elections for Honolulu mayor and prosecutor, the biblical Democratic House primary between Blake Oshiro and Gary Okino and a bunch of contentious legislative and City Council primaries and it’s enough to leave even the most hardy political junkies sucking for air.

The 2010 election won’t end with the primary, of course; the general election will  feature a competitive race between Hannemann or Abercrombie against Republican James “Duke” Aiona, a brawling rematch of Djou vs. Hanabusa, some scrappy legislative and council races and an important constitutional amendment on the future of the Board of Education.

But tomorrow, we’ll start to get an idea of whether Hawai‘i  is entering a period of modest political change or if the dominant group since statehood will gain perhaps its tightest grip on power ever.  

***

ELECTION NIGHT SPECIAL: A reminder that as in the last two elections, I plan to run the blog live on election night to post my own impressions of the returns and welcome the comments of anybody else who cares to analyze or vent. I’ll start around 6 p.m. and stay up as long as races are still in doubt.

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17 Comments on “Time for the voters to speak”

  1. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    What State House races do you & the regulars here on the blog see as being important? State Senate? Why? Do you see GOP taking any new seats? Losing any?

    After watching a few episodes of Dan Boylan’s show on KHET, I am about ready to support a law requiring candidates to pass an SAT For Political Wannabees. My 12-year-old cat has a better grasp of government & governance than some of these people.

    Gary Hooser and Lyla Berg will be missed at the Legislature; hopefully they will stay active in local politics.

    It’ll definitely be interesting to go to Sunday’s Unity Breakfast. I wonder if the Biggie Losers will show up.

  2. WooWoo Says:

    Cap-

    You’re going to miss Hooser and Berg but not Jon Riki? He’s going to be hurt. I’m sure he’ll muse about it on his blog.

    I don’t see any of the incumbent GOP House members losing. I think Johanson keeps Finnegan’s seat. I also see a few pickups, and that is just from what I see and hear; I have not sat down and analyzed each race.

    My question is, how does the Democratic party feel about this upcoming election. For sure, there is a 180 degree turn in the GOP from 2008, when most races went uncontested. Does the part leadership realize that they will likely lose seats? Are they taking these challenges seriously, or do they think that in the end we will still have only 5 or 6 GOP reps in the house?

    Also… does Say keep the poi pounder?

  3. charles Says:

    I’m not good at reading the tea leaves but I see one incumbent GOP legislator losing and up to four Dem legislators losing.

    But it will become clearer after the primary, to be sure.

  4. David Shapiro Says:

    I haven’t looked at much analysis of specific legislative races until after the primary, but I’m interested in how the Republicans do generally as I don’t think super-majorities are good for good government.

    Jonah Ka‘auwai has done a good job of recruiting candidates after the embarrassment of 2008, when they left 40 percent of the races uncontested. I’m not sure that even his modest goal of doubling their puny numbers in the Legislature is achievable, but they need to make some gains to maintain credibility. If the GOP again leaves its candidates hanging out to dry, as in 2004 when Lingle preferred the limelight of the Bush campaign plane over the drudgery of winning enough legislative seats to uphold her vetoes, the party is probably in for another period of great difficulty in recruiting candidates.

    Ka‘auwai seems to be keeping a low profile since his Sermon on the Mufi, and most statements I’ve seen coming out of the party lately have been from Dylan Nonaka. Bottom line: if Republicans lose both of the big races in which they’re competitive and end up with even fewer seats in the Legislature, it’s going to be difficult to take the GOP seriously as a “major” political party in Hawai‘i.

  5. WooWoo Says:

    Never mind crossover voting in Hawaii, what about DC?

    DC mayor Adrian Fenty lost the dem primary earlier this week. The DC GOP party, which is even less significant than the one here, has nominated him as their candidate.

    If you were a DC democratic voter that supported Fenty in the primary, is there a legit reason to not vote for him in the general when he has an R next to his name? He did not solicit in any way the GOP nomination, they just wrote him in. He is the same guy.

    ?

  6. Nikki Heat Says:

    Hey, we do have a two-party system– it’s just contained within the same party, the Democrats (progressive Democrats and cultural Democrats).
    The legislature, however, whether it’s the Senate or the House, isn’t organized under ideological lines– I don’t see much ideological difference between a Calvin Say faction and a Sylvia Luke-Scott Saiki faction (Blake Oshiro kinda straddled the two groups and passing HB444 took support from the so-called House dissidents. Calvin’s Vice-Speaker, Majority Floor leader and the Filipino caucus voting NO, except for those crazy Ivy Leaguers Della Au-Belatti and the appointed Gil Agaran). Organizational is a personal power thing. K. Mark Takai, a Luke-Saiki stalwart, is a Christian conservative who apparently craved a chance to vote on the floor AGAINST HB444 (he signed the bill but was in Kuwait when the House voted on it; Mark’s anti-Civil Union vote didn’t stop Jonah K. from recruiting token opposition against him) and is a big supporter of Mufi Hannemann. Blake Oshiro as Say’s Majority Leader moved the caucus leftward on many issues and Say’s Finance chair Marcus Oshiro is usually a reliable social services and labor supporter.
    The races to watch for organizational purposes are whether Blake and Luke survive their respective primary challenges, and whether freshmen Denny Coffman in Kona, Chris Lee in Waimanalo, and Jessica Wooley in Laie, Ryan Yamane in Mililani (but I voted against HB444), Marilyn Lee in other Mililani, Sharon Har in Kapolei, Belatti in Makiki, Majority Whip Pono Chong in Kailua, Kyle Yamashita in upcountry Maui, Joe Bertram in South Maui (if he survives a primary), Faye Hanohano on the Big Island, Roland Sagum on Kauai, and Joe Souki in Wailuku, and Karl Rhoads in Downtown all return. Who wins Karamatsu’s, Finnegan’s and Wakai’s seats may also figure in getting to 26.
    On the Senate side, assuming Colleen goes to D.C.,the President will likely be a neighbor islander (watch Roz Baker from the chess club, Shan Tsutsui from the cool kids, or Russell Kokubun from the Wu Chang Clan).

  7. Nikki Heat Says:

    Charles:
    I have to assume you’re talking about the Golden Bear as the endangered GOP legislator (God told Lynn Finnegan to move on to Lt. Gov. and Corrine Ching is now historic property and protected; the literally old GOP got free passes: Gene Ward, Barbara Marumoto and Cynthia Thielen). But surely Ewa Beach’s Kym Pine will just wrap herself in the flag and whack Jason Bradshaw as just another labor union tool.
    If you’re talking about Karen Awana, I understand she’s a Democrat, now.

  8. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    Charles:

    What Democratic legislators (“up to four”) do you see losing?

  9. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    Who’s the Golden Bear? Sam Slom?

    David: With a tent as wide as the Democratic Party puts up, there really is no need for a two-party system here in Hawai`i.

    Where else can people as diverse in their political beliefs as Michael Magaoay and Jessica Wooley – who share a common boundary line- be in the same Party.

    Of course, for many of us treehuggers, Cynthia Thielen, a classic Republican from the days of Eisenhower, is a more stalwart burro than her border cohorts Pono Chong and Ken Ito.

    We do indeed live in interestig times.

  10. shaftalley Says:

    cynthia thielen is part of the problem we face in hawaii.she is an enviromental fundementalist.she supports heavy state and federal and maybe even martian subsidies,and targeted tax breaks for her renewable energy projects.the wave enrgy project sounds good,but will take years and trillions of fiat dollars.she will use the gov’t. to force us to stop using plastic bags,change light bulbs, drive electric cars.and if we do’nt comply,we be punished.

  11. shaftalley Says:

    the us military is the single biggest polluter inthe world.and republicans support the military.

  12. Nikki Heat Says:

    Cap: Kym Pine is a Cal-Berkeley grad.

  13. charles Says:

    @Nikki, I don’t know who the “golden bear” is but my assessment is that an incumbent House GOP member will lose in the general but ask me again in mid-October.

    @capitol, the four Dems? Again, ask me in mid-October but in the primary, I think Sagum will have a tough time prevailing. I also think Cabanilla will have a tough time.

    That’s two. 🙂

  14. Nikki Heat Says:

    Hey, Charles. What about Takumi? He used to have trouble with that Filipino kid who later had the seat that Henry Aquino now holds. Does Dr. Paywhatyoulike have a shot at beating the House Education chair?

  15. charles Says:

    Nikki, that’s a general election contest. Alex Sonson tried three times to beat Takumi but those were primary elections.

    Of course, anything can (and does from time to time) happen in elections but Takumi’s district is one (out of six) that Hanabusa won in the special election.

    In other words, it is a Democratic district. But the results tonight should give some insights as to whether the churches were successful in mobilizing their base. If the religious right can get people out, then the general election becomes very interesting, indeed.

  16. Michael Says:

    Being a Christian does not mean one will go to Heaven.

    The Votes that will count will be from outer Islands and decided today. Oahu has only 1/4 the votes. It will be up to the other 3 Hawaii Counties.

  17. Nikki Heat Says:

    Charles: So your predictions on four Democratic incumbents falling was just for the Primary? My Takumi inquiry was about the General Election where Takumi faces the doctor with the pay what you want box. Takumi is supposed to be a possible alternative choice for Speaker to Calvin Say or one of Cerebus’ three heads (Sylvia Luke, K. Mark Takai or Scott Saiki) so it’s a race worth watching if the GOP can knock him off.

    For all: do Mufi Hannemaan’s, Norman Sakamoto’s and Gary Okino’s losses mean anything if the RIGHTeous Christians stayed “home” in the GOP?


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